Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Metrical Dindshenchas (Author: [unknown])

poem 63

Rath Cruachan

  1. Listen, ye warriors about Cruachu!
    with its barrow for every noble couple:
    O host whence springs lasting fame of laws!
    O royal line of the men of Connacht!
  2. 5] O host of the true, long-remembered exploits,
    with number of pleasant companies and of brave kings!
    O people, quickest in havoc
    to whom Erin has pledged various produce!
  3. Manly in battle-rout multitudinous
    10] is the seed of noble Brian, with their strong fleets:
    in express submission to them have been sent
    hostages from all Europe to Cruachu.
  4. If we stay to recount its fame for every power,
    we shall not be able to pour out the lore of noble science
    15] for Cruachu, holy without austerity,
    whose foemen are not few.
  5. Known to me by smooth-spoken eulogy
    is the designation of powerful Cruachu:
    not slight the din, the uproar,
    20] whence it got its name and fame for bright achievement.

  6. p.351

  7. Eochaid Airem — high career!
    when the fierce, generous man was at Fremu,
    the man who cherished feats of skill,
    holding a meeting for horse-fights,
  8. 25] There came to them noble Midir
    (he was no favourite with the gentle prince)
    to carry off Etain in dreadful wise,
    whence came lamentation of many tribes.
  9. Ill-favoured was the man who bore off
    30] Etain and hardy Crochen
    the queen and her handmaid,
    who was right lowly, yet ever-famous.
  10. Westward Midir bore the fair captives
    after boldly seizing them as booty,
    35] to Sid Sinche of the ancient hosts,
    because it was noble Midir's hereditary possession.
  11. Till three days were out he stayed
    in the radiant noisy Sid:
    after fruitful enterprise it is custom
    40] to boast at board and banquet.
  12. Then said strong Crochen
    What fine house is this where we have halted?
    O Midir of the splendid feats,
    is this thy spacious dwelling?"
  13. 45] The answer of the famous man of arts
    to Crochen blood-red of hue:
    ' Nearer to the sun, to its warmth,
    is my bright and fruitful home."

  14. p.353

  15. Said Cruachu the lovely,
    50] in presence of the spacious tribes,
    "O Midir, yet unconquered,
    shall my name be on this Sid?"
  16. He gave the fine dwelling as reward for her journey
    to Crochen, a fair recompense:
    55] by Midir, report says, northward at his home,
    by him her name was given to it as ye hear.
  17. Hence men say Cruachu,
    (it is not hidden from kindly tribes,)
    since Midir brought (clear without falsehood)
    60] his wife to Sinech of the Side.
  18. As for Midir, he was no sluggard thereafter,
    he went to Bri Leith maic Celtchair:
    he carried with him the bright indolent lady, whitely radiant,
    whom he bore off by force from Fremu.
  19. 65] Eochaid at the head of the numerous ranks
    of his brave troop,

    was on the track of Midir, the great champion.
  20. Said his druid to Eochaid,
    70] "Thou shalt not be fortunate all thy life long:
    lamentation for evil has come upon thee
    for the loss of Etain of the golden tresses:"

  21. p.355

  22. "Come from the judgment-seat of Fotla
    without warning, without royal proclamation;
    75] bring with thee thereafter to Bri Leith
    thy host — no cowards they — to sack it."
  23. "There shalt thou find thy wife
    in noble beauty, beyond denial:
    be not faint-hearted for long, O warrior;
    80] bring her with thee by consent or by force."
  24. This is a beginning, with famous perils,
    for the proud Wooing of Etain,
    though it be a pithy tale to hear,
    the tale when men came to Cruachu to listen to it.
  25. 85] It was Crochen of pure Cruachu
    who was mother of Medb great of valour:
    she was in Cruachu — it was an open reproach-
    awhile with Etain's spouse.

  26. p.357